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Thai MP Abhisit tells Hun Sen not to link disputes

Publication Date : 24-01-2013


Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen appears to be confused about issues related to land and maritime border disputes with Thailand, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.

He denied having tried to politicise these issues, as alleged by Hun Sen, saying he had merely reacted to remarks by government leaders and to those of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

"Hun Sen seems to have got the timeline of these issues mixed up and I want to clarify," Abhisit said.

In regard to the exploration for oil and gas in the Thai-Cambodian overlapping maritime claims area, Thaksin himself had expressed interest in investing in the project, he said.

Abhisit said he had not smeared Thaksin or Hun Sen by fabricating business linkages between the two.

Furthermore, statements from the Cambodian government admitted ongoing negotiations with the Yingluck government in regard to border issues governed by two memoranda of understanding (MoUs).

The negotiations implied a link between land and maritime border disputes, he said.

Last week Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said he did not want to reveal details of negotiations on the border dispute near the Preah Vihear Temple because it would affect the overlapping maritime boundary talks, Abhisit said.

He added that in contrast to the government's stand, he would not link the two MoUs on land and maritime disputes because it would put Thailand at a disadvantage. He said the government was obliged to make a decision soon on whether to uphold the MoU on the maritime boundary or to convince Cambodia to switch to a new framework.

The geographical fact is the majority of maritime resources are located on the Thai side - but the profit sharing formula calls for a 50-50 split, he said.

Surapong yesterday distributed an unofficial translation in Phnom Penh of a statement from the Cambodian government.

The Cambodian government issued the statement in response to the Democrat Party's accusation that it has secret interests with Thaksin in the overlapping maritime areas. Surapong said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra would tomorrow discuss the Preah Vihear case with all relevant officials and the Cabinet would, by the middle of March, resolve the direction in which the case would be fought in the International Court of Justice.


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